….wild is the wind…creative freedom is the seed….
Dear Friends, This is how we spent Valentines Day 2015. In the morning (that being a little after 11am for me), we went to have Brunch at the Shelbourne Hotel. It was so crowded because Valentines 2015 coincided with some sort of Rugby #6Nation tournament where teams of guys dressing in Green and a bunch of frenchmen with the symbol of a cock (rooster…whatever) painted on their faces and other bits, decided to come to the Shelbourne Hotel bar to bum-fight for bar stools. I do not know why they had to do that on this day. Oh, I understood that it was because the stadium was down the road towards the American embassy or something but I did not understand why it was so very important for them to do this at that particular location. I don’t think it has anything to do with the history of the Shelbourne hotel. Well, I don’t know for sure but it seems unlikely but what do I know? I only read the history of the hotel from some “Irelandofthewelcomes.com” site because it was the one with the old pictures and then had a quick look at the Museum inside. So setting aside the whole “Woo…Grace Kelly and her Prince stayed at Room 207 , Jackie O and JFK in the Tonga suite…and woo…all were inspired by the drafting of the Irish declaration of Independence in the Constitution Room….” I still thought the article was well done as a summary of the very very small Museum inside the hotel. What they didn’t add, which the guy who showed me around the gym did was to say the Shelbourne Hotel is also on ghost tours. They have their own alleged residence ghost. I don’t know. I am not sure that is the perfect way to sell a fairly empty but minimalist modernist posh gym and pool. But he skipped over that bit quite fast. I would join the gym in a second if only they would raise their water temperature by about 2-3 degree celsius. I am sorry, it is very very cold in there if you swim to meditate like me, instead of swimming in some sort of Gun-ho style! Which did bring me to thinking about Civil Rights again; that was good since the week before I managed to find out just a little bit about JFK’s announcement of the desegregation of the schools bill which caused a whole lot of drama! Well, apartheid is and was an evil evil thing. Segregation is only acceptable based on ..I don’t know…..IQ level and Fashion sense?…..okay, not fashion sense, but I do think it is sometimes okay to segregate based on IQ…. Which brings me right back to the Rugby Cocks ( I meant Crowds!)! Can you people stop moving bar stools around me while we are trying to have a Valentine’s day Coffee and Beef sandwich before one went on a field trip to Wicklow National Park? The room was a bit divided into Rugby crowds and groups of guys that all look like Engineer-types ….and Women in couples trying to have a Valentine’s champagne before lunch, dressed like they wanted to be the next Chanel commercial. (Personally I didn’t like the whole surfing Yummy-mummy Giselle thing….it is far too many mixed metaphors and I just don’t think the suspense of whether G will end up as a single mom on income support and have all her Chanel stuff taken away from her, was terribly funny. Luckily for G, the ad all ended happily! Wow, go figure! That’s all single-moms have to do these days…just surf a bit in top-to-toes Coco Chanel and he will NEVER leave you with the kid!) Anyway, back to reality! Reality of the sensible kind! I got a text from the tour operating saying,”Please look out for a White Mercedes Sprinter on its way to pick you up for Wicklow at the Shelbourne steps. We are showing up, no matter what those Shelbourne concierge tells you.” Hahahahaha. That is very helpful but the truth is, I have no idea what a car like that looked like, so had to do a quick google as there were more than one White colored cars/vans lying around! In the end, it worked out. We were on our way. We were so lucky to have sunshine. Our first glimpse of Lake Tay (otherwise known as Guinness Estate lake because it belongs to a member of the Guinness family who actually had nothing to do with the famous brewery and had his own recording label of Irish music), was really beautiful. It was wistful and just fairytale-like. The area had a very special magical atmosphere. The rest, I could be bothered writing in my own words because I am lazy. Suffice to say, we had a light picnic of Strawberries, Dragonfruits, Dried Mangos and Saki by the lake. It sounds very romantic but actually there were other tourists around so it was very pretty but not very romantic. Luckily I am not much of a romantic at all and personally I always thought Valentine’s Day was trite and commercial, so don’t worry about it! This is the official version and a much of poetic description of the area: From: daytoursunplugged.ie Wicklow Mountains National Park – County Wicklow is known as the garden of Ireland. Wicklow is the largest upland area in Ireland. The Wicklow national park offers you spectacular coastline, soaring mountains, waterfalls, peat bogs, remote glacial lakes and forests. County Wicklow is rich in ancient history and folklore, and located so close to Dublin. Glendalough an ancient monastic settlement – Glendalough is located just South of Dublin. Nestled within a remote u shaped valley surrounded by two spectacular glacial lakes. Glendalough was established by St Kevin’s in the 6th century. It became one of Ireland’s most important monastic settlements and was a veritable city in its time. Enjoy a fully guided tour through this enchanting valley. Explore the best preserved 30m round tower, enter through the original gateway building, discover several churches, a cathedral, and farmhouses. Glendalough was plundered by Vikings, and ravaged by fire, on numerous occasions before ultimately falling to the Normans in 1398. Pdf Excavations carried out at lower lake Glendalough. Your guide will explain in detail the rich folklore and history associated with this ancient site. Furthermore on our unique Wicklow tour, you will have plenty off free time to walk through the valley to the remote glacial lakes. Lights camera action in County Wicklow – What really makes Glendalough sing to your soul is its location at the heart of the Wicklow Mountains National Park. For years, Wicklow has been Hollywood’s movie location of choice in Ireland, with Powerscourt, Kilruddery House and the mountains themselves forming the backdrop for productions including Brave heart, The Count of MonteCristo and P.S. I Love You, starring Hillary Swank and Gerard Butler. Video:
Notes from Cecilia: Guys I did not see no Gerard Butler on my tour, I want my money back! (just kidding) Thank you so much. We had a lovely day. I really liked the little story about the Guinness Lake estate. ie. There were always some tourists who asked,”Is the guy who owned this place married?” Your answer: “Yes, he is in his 70s, married to a princess from India, runs a recording label and they do not have any kids.” I liked it because I thought that was a good, short summary to give to potential gold-diggers. Yes, i did think it was great that the property is available for weekly rental retreat but I did think that perhaps Michael Jackson using it as a hide-away was not the best choice to get away from Papparazzis considering, you can photograph from every angle from the hills above! Lol.
Seriously thank you for all the little charming touches! We recommend touring with you because you kept the pace relaxed and authentic. We had lots of time to see everything and there was no fuss about dragging out the time or the stories. It was nice to go with you instead of stressing about the drive out of Dublin. 🙂 Very relaxed and efficient.